An Industry in Motion: Why We're So Excited to Join WE

It’s funny how the marketing world is constantly trying to put itself into boxes. For an industry that prides itself on creativity, we sure do love a good taxonomy.

And within our established taxonomies, the story this week is “PR agency acquires content marketing agency.” This box here fits within that box over there. Seems pretty straightforward.

But those of us in the trenches know that there’s a turf war raging right now. Call it The Battle of the Boxes — how many boxes can you check for your client?

It should be clear by now that content, social, influencer, exec comms, real-time analytics, and PR are where the action’s at — all those community-centric activities that clients really, really want in 2019. They’ll eventually roll up together, and while the industry wrangles to see who's going to own them, it would represent a massive business transition — and an unwieldy structural transition — for ad agencies. And they know it: Martin Sorrell himself called this out last week at CES.

There’s a different set of skills required to foster real conversations and drive communities to action. It demands an always-on mentality that lets us move at the speed of the news cycle, as fast as our audience can talk and share. We have to be able to train our clients to adopt that mentality too. We need the ability to think two (or ten) steps ahead of the day’s activity — we’re publishing something this afternoon, and it works with what we published yesterday and what we’ll publish next week, all to establish a brand’s story. And of course, we need a deep level of subject-matter expertise if we’re going to be able to build meaningful connections between a brand and a passionate community.

The industry is in a moment of flux right now, but we expect marketing budgets to continue to be reallocated toward the kind of always-on, responsive programs that generate conversation and earned media. The combo of WE + Codeword lets us pioneer the kind of fresh agency work that clients want. It’s an exciting time, and we can’t wait to build our future with our new friends at WE Communications.